Still in touch with my inner eight year old

One of the things I love about the sea is exploring the shoreline and the rock pools and seeing what you can find. As a child I loved being outdoors, I had a very active childhood and my siblings and I were always climbing trees and rocks. We spent every Sunday out somewhere, usually near water as my Dad was a keen fisherman.

The highlight of our year was our two week caravan holiday in Somerset where we would build elaborate sand creations, examine the rock pools for exciting creatures, and go crabbing from the pier. I love it and still get that sense of excitement now whenever I am near a beach.

My walk the other way along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path took me along the gorgeous Castle and South beaches, and all the way to the end of the stunning Giltar Point. The views from the point were amazing, I could see over to Caldey Island and all the way round the coastline with the most amazing cliffs.

There was so much to see as there were lots of boats going to and from the island. There were also, sadly, many dead jellyfish. I think I counted at least 8, all of the same variety and a similar size. They are fascinating creatures to watch and it was awful to see so many lying on the beach.

A couple of days later I went over on a boat trip to Caldey, the island has a Cistercian monastery and some brilliant walks where you can see more of these amazing beaches and cliffs. I also saw my first ever pair of black swans on the old abbey pond.

The following day I went on a seal cruise back to the island, it was quite choppy and it was only a small boat so there was a free roller coaster ride included! We saw lots of basking female seals, it was difficult to get pictures but trust me that is a seal bobbing up and down in the second picture.

Some truly wonderful experiences, I am so lucky to be able to have done this trip and have the life that I now have. It still doesn’t seem real yet, even after all the years of planning it. I am still very much still in holiday mode here, and still have many practical things to sort out, so have not really got into a normal routine yet. I have started learning Spanish though, I can get by in many situations but wanted to learn it in a more structured way. Luckily 20 years of teaching English grammar and basic linguistics is helpful for understanding how other languages work.

We are off on a very exciting trip this weekend as we are going to visit my brother and sister in law, Ben and Amanda, at their cave house in the mountains near Granada! They have owned the house for about 4 years, but due to the fact that they mainly come to Spain outside the school holidays, and I have not been able to do that, I have never seen it. We were going to meet up there in June last year but we all know what happened to plans in 2020!

So I will be back with you next week and may post about that before I continue with the UK tour posts. I hope that you all have a good rest of the week and the weekend. I am off to a friend’s pool this afternoon, and the beach tomorrow as it is still very hot here. I know, it’s a tough life 😉

Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Tenby and the stunning Pembroke Coastal path

I am writing this post on my newly installed Spanish internet, which is making life much easier as I am back on the laptop with a wonderful full signal! I am celebrating one week here today, almost to the hour and it has been a brilliant first week.

I have been to the pool twice, in Mum’s jacuzzi once and managed to officially mark my retirement by spending Monday morning swimming in the sea at exactly the time that I would have been starting the first day of the new term. That was something that I had planned last year and was so happy to get here in time for that. Although I finished in June the summer has felt more like just being on holiday, I now feel officially retired and ready to start my new life here, at least for the next 83 days until I have to sadly leave for 90 days 😦

Meanwhile I am still working through all the pictures from my camping trips as I still have so much more to share with you. After Devon I spent the weekend in Swansea, which I will post about later as I have a series of museum and needlework posts planned from all the lovely things that I have seen on my travels. I then went to Wales, staying a week at the amazing Meadow Farm campsite, on the hill overlooking Tenby with the most stunning views. I loved Tenby, and the campsite, and really did not want to leave there.

The coastal path passes just next to the campsite and that was one of the reasons that I chose the site as well as the views. I had a really lovely time there, the campsite manager was so friendly, I chatted to lots of people and had some wonderful evenings just sitting watching the sun shine on the sea. The picture below shows the view from outside my tent.

It is a beautiful town with the most gorgeous beaches and so many lovely pastel painted houses. I loved walking to and from the campsite and watching the tide go in and out.

A little of the town retains its medieval character, when it was heavily associated with Jasper and Henry Tudor ,later Henry 7th, and I went to visit the National Trust Merchant’s House in the town that dates from that era.

At that time Tenby was the most important port in Wales but changes in the design of boats led to its decline as it has a tidal harbour. Its fortunes were revived as a Georgian resort which means that there are so many elegant houses along the seafront as well as cute cottages from the earlier periods. It also has lots of lovely shops and cafes so is lovely to just wander round.

The first couple of days were cloudy, which was excellent walking weather, so I went along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, with some absolutely breath-taking views of the cliffs. The first walk was towards Saundserfoot, which was a challenging 5km there and back up and down hills and through woodland. I did get down to one of the little bays on route as well.

I will post next time about the other coastal path walks and the boat trips. It really is a stunning area to stay in, and I did not get chance to do all of the things that I had planned there so will return. Part of my reason for doing this tour was to look at potential places to site a caravan and Tenby is very much on the list. Devon was lovely but Wales has my heart and from a practical point of view is more accessible for my nomadic summer life of festivals and events.

Until next time hope you are all ok and having fun. I am back to the beach tomorrow for more swimming as it is still very warm here. Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Tamar trails and of course a waterfall for Jacky!

As you may know my sister is a huge fan of waterfalls so most of our trips involve those. We only saw one this trip but did have a lovely day out doing some of the Tamar trails

There was not as much of a view of the actual Tamar River from the trail but there was a fascinating history of the tin mines in the area on the trails.

The tall chimneys still survive as do many of the old workings, both from the tin mining, and later producing arsenic.

The waterfall we visited was Lydford Gorge and we did just a short walk before it was time to hit the M5 for a slow journey back to Worcester.

It was so good to spend time with Jacky again, she and I have so many interests in common and I love sharing her van life for the odd week or so. She has been away for most of the 6 weeks holidays after the stressful year that she has had as a primary special needs teacher she really deserved the rest.

I am looking forward to more adventures with her next year. Meanwhile I have some very good news, I am finally in Spain! I arrived a couple of days ago and have been spending lots of time with Mum and my aunt Maureen, including a lovely trip to the pool yesterday.

I have lots of sorting to do, not least to put together a new craft space which is very exciting. My lovely aunt and I are going shopping for some storage this afternoon so I can unpack the two large bags of craft stuff I brought with me.

I still have lots of my UK tour to post about so will do as much as I can though things may be a bit slow as I have only a poor mobile Internet signal here.

Meanwhile I hope that you have a good week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Add yet more boats!

I am currently in my little tent on the very last day of the UK tour. I have been in a lovely little village called Fairbourne, across the estuary from Barmouth for the past few days. It is right on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, so is surrounded by mountains, with fantastic views.

Today, however I am posting about the trip to Plymouth. I have friends who live there, and my cousin Neil lives just outside the city so Jacky and I really wanted to go and explore. We also got to meet up the following day with my cousin and his family at their house which was brilliant. We normally see each other in Spain so have missed that.

As to be expected, given its long naval history, there were lots and lots of boats and celebration of that history. One of the first things we saw was a statue of Sir Francis Drake, who famously encountered the Spanish Armada here.

We were fascinated to watch the large ferry from Roscoff come into port. Hopefully at some point in the future Jacky and I will take a campervan over to France so we’re discussing which route we might take over ice-cream at this lovely cafe perched on the side of the cliff.

We had a wander round the bay and up into the older area of the Barbican. Sadly the Liberty shop was closed which was possibly a good thing as I don’t have room in any of my bags now. We did find a very cute Turkish inspired tea room with a gorgeous garden and had an afternoon tea.

After that we went on a cruise round the bay, past all the naval dockyards which was fascinating. My cousin has been in the Navy for nearly 30 years now so he works on many of these ships and will be sailing again soon for more training.

A very lovely day our and a very impressive city, it seems like a very nice place to live, with lots going on and a beautiful location just across from Cornwall.

We spent the last couple of days doing walks in the area. It was very hot so we stayed to woodland areas and had a lovely time before the long drive back to Jacky’s.

I will hopefully be able to post later this week, I am going back to Ellen’s tomorrow for a couple of nights and then fingers crossed on to further adventures.

I hope that you are all enjoying this late summer, it has been a bit wet here in Wales but that only adds to the scenery with low hanging cloud between the mountains.Whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A tour of the tors

Jacky and I stayed on a beautiful campsite owned by the Caravan and Camping club outside Tavistock. We spent a lot of time driving round the tors and getting a little bit lost at times but met lots of gorgeous ponies, many, many sheep in the road and had some great walks.

On our first day we took Eva out to the tor we could see from the campsite. It didn’t look very high but was quite a steep climb but the views from the top were well worth it.

We had spotted a group of ponies drinking by a pond and were going to go down to see them when they started up the hill to us. They were very friendly and obviously well used to visitors. I think they wanted some food but we had nothing with us and would not have fed them anyway but the clearly thought the rucksack might have some treats in it.

An amazing day out, finished off with a paddle and a BBQ, which made me very happy as I had been enviously watching other people have them at the last campsite and I don’t have room for one in my little kit.

We went on to Plymouth later that week and did a lot more walking so I will post about that later. I am in Aberystwyth at the moment, having left Tenby reluctantly yesterday as it was a wonderful place. I am currently in a hotel with very lovely soft bed and so much space, a real luxury after seven nights under canvas. It does feel a bit strange as I have been getting very used to my tent but it is nice to have a few quiet days.

I wil try and post again before I leave for the final leg of the tour to Barmouth later this week. I hope that you are all having a good time whatever you are doing. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Beautiful towns, and so many boats !

I am now sitting in my hotel room in Swansea, overlooking the bay and enjoying a quiet evening. I am on the way to another campsite in Wales on Monday but have a little break here and plan to visit the museums tomorrow.

I really enjoyed visiting so many towns in Devon, I really loved all of them, all with very different characters but all with such a focus on seagoing. I love the sea and was amazed by the number of boats in the harbours, especially at Dartmouth.

This was such a beautiful town, with so many gorgeous old buildings, even in the mizzle we had when we got off the steam train. I wandered around the old streets that go up the hill, enjoying the view of the harbour. I had two short ferry crossings and if I go back would love to do another cruise up the river.

My last trip before meeting Jacky was to Torquay, which I had passed on the way to Paignton. It was really hot so I had a paddle, ice cream, a lovely glass of white wine overlooking the marina, and finished the day with fish and chips.

Torquay is very elegant and I was also able to get a good look at the three large cruise ships that have been stuck in the bay since last year. There were so many other large boats in the marina as well. I am used to seeing them in Spain but didn’t realise there were so many here. I spent a very happy afternoon watching them all.

I have sorted out all off the pictures from my week with Jacky so will post next week about our adventures on Dartmoor, we saw so many of the wild ponies there which was amazing.

Until then I hope that you have a great week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Trains and boats and planes …. well just the first two for now.

I have had a great time exploring Devon on a variety of public transport. As you may know the original pre – Covid plan was to learn to drive and buy a campervan. However as we know things did not turn out that way.

I have been a lifelong public transport user so was not really that fazed by the lack of licence.

I chose this campsite specifically for its very good transport links and have been all over South Devon this week.

One of the best days out was to take the Riviera line train along to Paignton and then the Dartmouth Steam train. I will post again about Dartmouth, as it was a beautiful place but the two journey were stunning. I love normal trains but steam trains are especially wonderful.

I passed so many wonderful places, it was amazing to see all of the rock formations along the coast and the beautiful towns and estuaries.

I also went on a cruise from Exmouth along the coast which was again stunning. This coast is of special geological significance and is known as the Jurassic Coast due to the amount of fossils that have been found here. The rock formations due to erosion were very impressive.

I went to Exeter yesterday to see the cathedral and that will have to be a post all on its own as the embroidery was stunning. Today was a little trip to Torquay for a walk around the marina, more ice cream and fish and chips.

I am meeting up with Jacky tomorrow so we will continue our adventures in Devon for another week. Hope you have been having a good week, take care, have fun, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The miracles of modern technology!

So this is my first post coming to you from my tent. I am currently in Devon and am camping at a very lovely little campsite in a village on the banks of the River Exe.

I came from Worksop on the coach and stayed overnight in Exeter as it was too late to come straight to the campsite. It is on a farm and has some chickens and a beautiful pond with a resident heron as well as ducks and moorhens.

I have not visited this part of the UK for a very long time, we came to Lulworth when the children were young but chose this as the campsite has very good public transport links, since I am doing all of this by train, bus and taxi.

So far I have had a very lovely trip on the ferry over to Exmouth and visited Dawlish Warren and been along the coast for a walk. There were lots of yachts and windsurfers to admire and it was beautiful and sunny, so much so that I got burnt as I did not realise how hot it was due to the wind.

I have had to get to grips with so much technology recently, I am writing this using the WordPress app, I have a Smartphone and am using apps on that to buy train tickets and have got power banks for charging things for life on the road. It is all very exciting and amazing that I can continue to blog and keep in touch with you all.

I am off on another train journey tomorrow, on a steam train so am really looking forward to that. I am meeting up with my sister on Monday for some campervan adventures so will be posting more later this week about the other things I have done, there will have been lots of boats involved!

I hope you are all having a good week, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Attention to detail

The thing that impressed us the most about the Yorkshire Wartime event that we visited was the superb attention to detail in all of the encampments. There were so many things to look at, from the period typewriters and beds to the maps, replicas of the Enigma machines, and the huge number of vehicles that were there.

This shows amazing dedication to the hobby, medieval re-enactment is an expensive hobby but we saw vehicles that were for sale for £45,000 and there is the cost of transporting, running and maintaining them as well.

There were such a wide variety of camps, from both sides of WW1 and WW2 as well as replicas of trenches, hospital stations, desert settings, such as lot of hard work had gone into the event and we really appreciated that. We had some lovely chats with people, especially with a group who had been excavating a WW1 training camp in North Wales and had so many original finds from the rubbish dump there.

There was also the battle with very impressive pyrotechnics that created this huge smoke ring in the sky, which lasted for ages,

There was also the chance to admire the camper vans and caravans as we stayed over in the public camping field, these were two of my favourite for their size and cuteness.

We also went to the Saturday night dance which was brilliant fun. A really lovely way to end my time with Ellen. As of this week I am on my four week camping tour, visiting Devon, meeting up with my sister Jacky for some time with her in her camper van, and then two weeks in West and North Wales which I am very much looking forward to.

I will try and post as much as I can, I have yet to work out how to do that on a tablet but have a few days in apartments in between the camping so when I have access to electricity I will see what I can do.

In the meantime I hope that you all have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A welcome return

Evesham was such a lovely event. I have not been before, although the others had in 2019. It is a slightly earlier period than we normally do being a battle that took place in the town in 1265. Luckily my nun’s outfit covers a multitude of centuries. I was there this time with my new medieval group, Team Falchion. I am still with the other group, but always intended to join this group, who have been friends of ours for a very long time, so that I could attend even more events.

All of these photos were taken by our wonderful event photographer, Pat Patrick, who spends so much time at every event taking hundreds of pictures. We also had a photo shoot with our group photographer Silke in the abbey church. The costumes were wonderful, very much inspired by Byzantine fashions with lots of flowing tunics and embroidery.

On Saturday we had a parade through the town, which was brilliant fun, I would love to go back and spend more time there, it looks like a really lovely place with lots to see and a lovely river bank walk. I think I visited when I was younger as I grew up near there and have vague memories of it.

There was one battle on Saturday and two battles on Sunday and as well as the foot combat there were horses which was very exciting to watch.

It was just so lovely to catch up with friends again, sit in a beer tent and round a campfire and just have such a great time, it thankfully seemed as if the last year has been a bad dream. That is the last medieval event for this year though we have just got back from a WW2 one so will post about that later this week.

I hope that you have had a good weekend, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.